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Young people get in gear for safer driving and community leadership in Newry/Armagh

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More than 30 young people enrolled on an innovative training project were honoured last night (Thursday 8th December) for bringing safer driving and enhanced community relations to Newry and Armagh .

The six-week Digging Deeper, Safer Driving scheme is part of a wider Peace Impact Project, supported by the International Fund for Ireland, and uses advanced motoring as a way to engage people in formal and informal training and address issues that impact negatively on society.

Coordinated by Community Restorative Justice Newry/Armagh (CRJNA), the project gives people a chance to learn new skills, access practical employment-related training courses and become positive influences within their community. In the last two years, it has enabled more than 630 people to enrol in training courses and has been praised for reducing community tensions.

Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland said:
“The young people involved in this project deserve credit for the achievements that they have made through the Digging Deeper Safer Driving project. Identifying and negotiating hazards are at the heart of this initiative, but it goes much further than dangers that exist on the road. This work encompasses issues like anti-social behaviour, alcohol and drugs and provides young people with a practical way to change their prospects.

“CRNJA works with a number of organisations to reduce the risk in the lives of young people and their families. It facilitates a range of support services designed to move vulnerable individuals away from anti-social behaviour, crime, drugs and alcohol abuse. I congratulate all the participants for their commitment and accomplishments.”

Ewan Morgan, Digging Deeper Safer Driving coordinator, said:
“This project has supported young people to develop skills around citizenship and employability, while also enabling them to become safer and more conscientious drivers. Each one of them has stepped up and recognised their responsibilities as road users, but also the active role they can have in shaping their communities for the better.

“This is about equipping young people with the knowledge, skills and competencies to become advocates of change and build a more positive future for themselves and others. We’ve been impressed by how each participant has applied themselves within the project and within their communities.”

In November, CRJNA secured an additional £198,199 through the International Fund for Ireland’s Peace Impact Programme which supports community efforts to address sensitive, complex and challenging issues within areas where there have been low levels of engagement in peace building.